The rise and spread of COVID-19 over the past several months has affected many aspects of our lives, including how we approach caregiving for the eldery and others whose health is vulnerable. Immunocompromised persons, including those who recently underwent surgery, are at an increased risk and must be protected to limit the spread of COVID-19. In addition to fulfilling basic needs such as administering medication, extra precautions must be taken to minimize the risk of COVID-19 after surgery.
In order to meet these demands, it may be beneficial to seek professional post-operative care. At Coastal Home Care, our staff of highly-trained and certified nursing assistants provide flexible post-surgical care to fit the needs of your loved one, from companionship and help with everyday tasks to more intensive care such as repositioning and help with physical activity. With nearly 10 years of caring for residents in Worcester County, MD, we have proven to be a leader in home care services.
Below, we’ve provided best practices for family members or other caregivers to keep patients safe during the recovery process.
Help with Basic Needs
Post-operative care begins with providing support and helping with essential needs.
- Help the patient follow doctor’s instructions and monitor medication. Ensure proper dosage of medication and that it is taken regularly.
- Assist with errands. Help the person with grocery shopping, filling prescriptions, and purchasing other items they may need. If possible, consider using a delivery service to limit contact with others.
- Take care of their pet(s). It’s advisable to limit contact between the person in recovery and their pet when possible, so assist with caring for the animal’s everyday needs.
Watch for Symptoms
It’s important to monitor the patient as well as yourself for symptoms related to COVID-19. If you develop a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, reach out to your primary health care provider for guidance in managing the situation. The CDC’s self-checker tool can also help you determine the right course of action.
COVID-19 spreads between people in close proximity (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets created when people talk, sneeze or cough. Here are some recommendations to increase prevention:
- If you are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, do not take on the responsibility of being the primary caregiver. If possible, seek assistance from professionals in post-operative care.
- Avoid having visitors. Visitors to postoperative patients should be avoided as much as possible. If a family member or friend must visit, screen them for symptoms and check their temperature. Have them wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. They should also wear a cloth face covering while limiting contact with the patient and nearby surfaces.
- Increase ventilation in shared spaces. While it is recommended to have the patient use a separate bedroom and bathroom, there will be occasions where you will be sharing a space. Make sure the room has good ventilation to remove respiratory droplets from the air; open a window or turn on a fan to ensure good airflow.
- Avoid sharing personal items. Do not share dishes, cups, utensils or electronics (like a cell-phone) with the patient. Also, use gloves when washing dishes, and wash your hands afterward.
Wash Your Hands Often
Hand washing is the first step to protecting yourself and your loved one. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
If soap and water are unavailable, you can use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Make sure to cover the entire surface of your hands and rub them until dry.
Additionally, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Wear a Cloth Face Covering and Gloves
- When leaving the home, wear a cloth face covering and keep a distance of 6 feet from other people.
- As a caregiver, always wear gloves if you will be coming into contact with the patient’s blood, stool, or any bodily fluids. Dispose of gloves in a lined trash can and cleanse hands afterward.
Clean and Disinfect
Make a habit of cleaning and disinfecting “high-touch” surfaces and objects around the house. These include lightswitches, countertops, doorknobs and hardware, toilets, faucets and electronics.
- Clean the area or item with soap and water, then use a household disinfectant. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label to ensure it’s used effectively.
- Electronics can be cleaned with wipes or spray with at least 70% alcohol.
By following these practices above as a caregiver, you can minimize the risk of COVID-19 while supporting your loved one during their post-operative recovery.
Coastal Home Care: Skilled Post-Operative Care in Worcester County, MD
With a busy schedule and personal responsibilities, caring for a loved one after an operation can prove challenging. Added to this are concerns regarding COVID-19, which require additional steps to be taken. However, with assistance from Coastal Home Care, the recovery process can be made as safe and efficient as possible. Our caregivers are fully-certified and equipped to provide the highest quality post-operative care to every one of their patients, whatever their specific needs may be.
If you have a loved one planning to undergo an operation, contact us at (866) 687-7307 to schedule a consultation.